ADVICE SHOP: Why sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory

Although summer is now officially over (sigh!), our eyes are still at risk from the sun.

Sunglasses can sometimes be viewed as a fashion accessory; they are also a great defence against ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause premature aging of the eye and conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts.

Steven Whittaker, Practice Manager at AJ Spurrett’s Opticians, based on Richmond Terrace, Blackburn, shares his top tips when it comes to buying sunglasses:

  • Make sure you’re 100% protected. The single most important thing to look for when choosing sunglasses is to make sure that they are 100% UV protected.
  • Bigger is better. The larger the frame, the more coverage your eyes will get from harmful UV rays. Consider buying oversized or wraparound glasses to reduce the amount of UV entering the eyes.
  • Polarised lenses reduce glare. Polarised sunglasses can be helpful for driving because they reduce glare-causing reflections from flat surfaces, such as windows of vehicles and light-coloured pavement. They are also good for people who are light-sensitive, such as those who have had cataract surgery.
  • Dark lenses are not necessarily better. They might look cool, but darker lenses don’t mean that they’ll block out more UV.
  • Colour doesn’t matter. Different sunglasses have different coloured lenses – pink, green, blue etc. They do not block out more sun, but they can help athletes with contrast in sunny conditions.

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